HomelessnessSPRINGFIELD, IL – Illinois’ homeless will be given equal rights to access public buildings, voting and other basic rights now that a measure sponsored by State Senator Ira I. Silverstein (D–Chicago) was signed into law today.

“The homeless deserve to be afforded the same basic rights as any other citizen in our state,” Silverstein said, “This law will allow homeless people to get back on their feet, find work and improve their situation.”

Homeless individuals face discrimination in situations for merely lacking a mailing or home address, especially when filling out job applications or showing proof of residency when attempting to vote.

“Many of us who enjoy these rights take them for granted and do not realize that something as simple as not having a physical address would keep us from utilizing these rights,” Silverstein continued.

The measure lists seven rights that will be extended to the homeless:

  1. Move freely through public buildings, parks, sidewalks and transit systems;
  2. Equal treatment from all state and municipal agencies;
  3. Freedom from employment discrimination based on a lack of a mailing address;
  4. Emergency medical care;
  5. Register to vote and vote;
  6. Confidentiality of private records and other personal information;
  7. A reasonable expectation of privacy with regard to personal property.
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SilversteinSenator Ira Silverstein welcomed Jim Bottorff of the Skokie Park District to Springfield today. Bottorff and representatives of more than 50 other park districts were at the Capitol for their annual Parks Day to advocate for legislation favorable to maintaining and growing public parks, forest preserves, nature areas and other recreational facilities.

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silverstein-042313br0253Illinois’ homeless will be given equal rights to access to public buildings, voting and other basic rights under a measure State Senator Ira I. Silverstein (D–Chicago) passed through the Senate today.

“The homeless most times are in this situation due to a hardship in their life,” Silverstein said. “So, we should embrace our homeless neighbors and give them the basic rights that many take advantage of every day.”

Homeless individuals face discrimination in situations for merely lacking a mailing or home address, especially when filling out job applications or showing proof of residency when attempting to vote.

“I hope the Homeless Bill of Rights is only the first step our state takes in ending discrimination against the homeless in Illinois and extending opportunities to allow these individuals to improve their situation,” Silverstein continued.

The measure lists seven rights that will be extended to the homeless:

  1. Move freely through public buildings, parks, sidewalks and transit systems;
  2. Equal treatment from all State & municipal agencies;
  3. Freedom from employment discrimination based on a lack of a mailing address;
  4. Emergency medical care;
  5. Register to vote and vote;
  6. Confidentiality of private records and other personal information;
  7. A reasonable expectation of privacy with regard to personal property.

The measure, Senate Bill 1210, received a vote of 41-11 and now moves to the House for further consideration.

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Senator Silverstein spoke in honor today of the over six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust in observance of Yom HaShoah, the Holocaust Remembrance Day. Senator Silverstein read an excerpt from the famous biographical account by Elie Wiesel, Night, in which he described his first sights of bodies being burned in a ditch while being forced to enter a concentration camp with his family. At the end of his comments, Silverstein asked his colleagues to join him in a moment of silence.Read More

Yom Hashoah has been observed since it was signed into Israeli law in 1953 and has been observed annually world-wide by Jewish communities. In Illinois, the seven Jewish Federations in Illinois gather each year with spiritual leaders, Holocaust survivors, students and elected officials. This year marked the 30th anniversary of Yom HaShoah being honored in Illinois by the seven Jewish Federations and the memorial service was held in The Old State Capitol in Springfield in the hall where Abraham Lincoln gave his famous "House Divided" speech. Senator Silverstein was joined by Senate President John Cullerton and Governor Pat Quinn in today’s memorial observance.

Listen to Senator Silverstein's comments:

{play}images/stories/silverstein-comments-HolocaustMemorialMay2011.mp3 {/play} 

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